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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  July 18, 2014 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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second chance and so hopefully, we'll get there and we'll see my family again. >> twists of fate in the crash of flight 17. some of them cruel. some of them incredibly lucky. i'm jake tapper. i turn you over to wolf blitzer. he's live from jerusalem. have a great weekend. >> happening now, a situation room special report. the downing of mh-17. breaking news, russian connection. u.s. intelligence officials now believe russia provided the weapon that rebels in eastern ukraine used to down the jumbo jet. we're learning new details about that missile. pressure on putin. the russian president increasingly suspected of setting the stage for the deadly attack which is now being called a game-changer in u.s.-russian relations. and battle of gaza. fighting raging as degree thanks and soldiers pushed deeper into hamas territory sending tens of
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thousands of palestinians fleeing. we want to the welcome viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in jerusalem. you're in "the situation room." >> we're following two breaking news stories gripping global attention. the crisis here in the middle east as a deadly new chapter unfolds in the war between israel and hamas with the israeli ground operation happening right now. we're also learning disturbing new information about the details involving the downing of malaysia airline flight 17, shot out of the sky over eastern ukraine, killing 298 people. among the latest developments, ukraine's economy and trade min center tells richard quest that he's now been informed the plane's black boxes are still in in ukraine, contrary to earlier reports that rebels have handed them over to russia. new information about the those victims including one man with
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dual american-dutch citizenship. quinn schansman, a student at a business school in amsterdam according to his face buk page. there were many hiv/aids researchers heading to a global conference and several babies on board. >> saw next to three of the passengers' names capital i. as we now know the letter "i" stands for infant. to the families and friends of the victims, it is impossible to find words to express our condolences. >> a team of 21 international monitors now at the crash site, but they were met with the intimidating gunfire by pro-russia rebels. we have correspondents covering the story around the globe as well as expert analysis from our guests over the next two hours, bringing you the story as only cnn can. let's begin with our chief
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national security correspondent jim sciutto. he's following the investigation for us. jim, what is the very latest. >> wolf, today, the case building against russia of some russian involvement in this shootdown. president obama calling the shootdown the direct result of rebel activity in eastern ukraine, activity he said that would be impossible without russian support. pentagon spokesman admiral john kirby saying "it's strange credit you'llity that rebels could have launched the missile that brought down this jet without russian help," resulting in as the president said a tragedy of unspeakable typhoon. >> 24 thundershowers after flight 17 slammed into the ground, international observers just arriving at the crash scene today in rebel-controlled territory. where they were they were far from welcome. >> we were greeted almost with hostility. so it wasn't a visit that was done under the best conditions and we hope to continue again tomorrow. >> reporter: as world leaders
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demand an international investigation -- the u.s. is already methodically piecing together who was responsible. today u.s. officials confirm the missile came from within eastern ukraine, most likely fired by pro-russian rebels. and they went further saying the rebels almost certainly would have needed russian help to fire the missiles. >> a group of separatists can't shoot down military transport planes or they claim shoot down fighter jets with that sophisticated equipment and training. and that is coming from russia. >> the missile that shot down the jet say u.s. officials came from this missile system, a russian made buk, also known as an sa-11. today, new audio recordings obtained from cnn from ukrainian officials allegedly captured the rebels describing how they received the very same missile launcher from russia.
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[ speaking foreign language ] >> and after the malaysian jet was shot down, ukrainian intelligence points to this video which it says shows a vehicle carrying the launcher back into russian territory. minus one missile on tap. today, russian foreign minister sergey lavrov dismissed accusations saying "he had hardly heard a single true statement coming from kiev in the past few months. i spoke with the ukrainian ambassador to the u.s. a short time ago and i asked him what does ukraine want now. he said it wants direct negotiations with russia led by the u.s. to rid eastern ukraine of russian-backed rebels. when i asked him what he believes it would take to bring russia to the table, he said severe sanctions is blocking russian companies from the international financial system. that's a tactic as you know the u.s. used against iran. remains to be seen whether the u.s. is prepared to take that step and whether the u.s.'s
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european allies are prepared to take that step, as well. >> jim, stand by. i want to bringing in phil black. he's at the crash site in eastern ukraine for us. tell our viewers what you're seeing. >> wolf, we arrived only a short time ago very late in the evening here. pitch black. dark fields on each side of us. but scattered around us is evidence of the scale of the physical catastrophic if you like. you can see behind me very large pieces of what was an mh-17 lying here in ice 0lation. it gives a sense of the power of the blast and the scale of the disaster that took place in the skies above because we are told pieces like this scattered over a wide area here, we can't see them just yet, it is very dark here as i say. and then surrounding us, as well, there is tremendously moving evidence of the human cost of what took place here. there are bodies in these fields
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around us. we can see them. some of them have been marked with small white flags. others not so. the emergency workers here and it's only a small team that are still here tonight say that they believe that they will have found more than 170 so far across an incredibly wide area. some caught up in these large pieces of the aircraft. others simply lying where they will seemingly fell from a great height. almost bearing no injury, they say. some of them. so it is a very moving scene. it is incredibly powerful as i say, it is a very good sense of just what took place in the skies here and as the sunrises in a few hours, i think it's going to become an even more powerful even more moving scene here. wolf? >> and whose actually trying to recover the bodies there? are they pro-russian rebels? are there local authorities first responders, ukrainian
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officials? who's in charge? >> the people we've met here work for ukraine's emergency ministry. so they are paid by the central government in kiev but they are a local branch of that. but it is very clear they are here working with the permission of the pro-russian rebels. when we first arrived here this evening, first question they asked was had those rebels given us permission to come here to see this, to take pictures and broadcast here. they have. that's why we're allowed to be here. but it is clear that those who are here working are doing so under strict supervision. there are rebels here keeping an eye on them, sharing tents with them while also nursing their assault rifles, while also schaefering food and so forth. there is a degree of cooperation if you like. from what we've seen so far, the scale of the recovery effort is still pretty small. it is local members from the emergency ministry, first responders and so forth. it has not matched the scale of
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the disaster, the scale of the debris, the number of bodies that are scattered across these fields in the towns across this area. it is very local. it is not yet a coordinated effort from kiev because while the rebels here are give some access, they are not providing open access to the central government in kiev. that is perhaps still being negotiated but it's going to happen soon because as those european observers who arrived here today mentioned, you can tell these bodies still out here are beginning to suffer from the effects of being exposed to the hot ukrainian sun. there is something of a clock ticking both in terms of dealing with the bodies that are scattered across this countryside and, of course, also getting to the bottom of this, the investigation establishing an exclusion zone coming in here collecting evidence to try and determine precisely for sure without any doubt whatsoever why this plane fell from the sky, wolf. >> so the ground around you,
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phil, i take it is charred from the fire. i don't know if your photographer there can pan over and show us some of the -- it must be brutal, i'm sure. and the bodies all over the place have not yet even been assembled. you had a deal with armed rebels who are effectively in charge. is that right? >> yeah, that's right. as i say, armed rebels in charge. they are the ones that have allowed us here very carefully, slowly through to this remote location. in terms of the countryside -- this is not an area where there is obvious evidence of plame or fire or some form of explosion. you can look at that wreckage behind me and you can see it has literally been ripped apart. it shows the force of whatever happened to that aircraft, but there is no evidence of fire. the bodies that we've seen in the fields and to be fair, wolf, we don't dare go too far into the fields with such little light available to us.
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no stars, no moon, it is very black here. and you can very easily stumble across something we really don't want to stumble across. as i say, the bodies are there. the emergency workers have told us these fields to a significant degree have been filled with them. they say the road we're just standing next to was also to a significant extent covered by them just 24 hours ago. also. that was the scene they found here. we capital show you too much else here easily i'm afraid in terms of panning around with the camera because it is such a remote location because they tell us these large sections of debris are really scattered in very different locations across a very, very wide area. but around these develops significant pieces you can see lots of other all? er parts of the aircraft, what appear to be personal effects, some paperwork, things that were clearly personal belongings, as well, things that belonged to those people who we can now see
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nestled among the tall grass of these fields that surround us tonight. wolf? >> and as you say, the whole area is basically in -- under the control of these armed rebels right now who have -- why would they prevent those international monitors, those observers from the organization for security and cooperation in europe from coming over there to take a look and inspect what's going on? because they were not treated appropriately as some of those observers told us. >> those observers say they were treated in a very hostile way. they say they were allowed to see a few hundred yards of the wreckage. they saw the bodies which we are also seeing here tonight. it is some access, but it is clearly not enough because the osce is not an organization that is trained or tasked with investigating air disasters or cleaning up, collecting,
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recovering, bodies from a tragedy such as this. they are international observers who already have a monitoring mission supposed to be keeping an eye on the security of this region. that's their primary task here. what is needed is something much bigger, much grander, an operation on a scale that is not taking place here. that is, firstly, to come in to recover those who lost their lives here. that's an important job and it's clearly taking place but very slowly. and, of course, also the investigation to establish an exclusion zone to come in, examine the wreckage very closely. we are standing pretty close to what is significant evidence tonight. the sort of situation that i'm sure an air disaster investigator would not want to see. we're trying not to disturb things as we found them being very careful to do so in fact, but of course, the nature of a proper air investigation if it was being carried out here today
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would involve far more personnel and it would involve people not directly involved in that investigation, not being allowed to get as close to this, not being allowed to see this up close, this confronting site both in terms of the wreckage and the obvious evidence of the disaster that took place there, but then the human cost, as well. and what we are still seeing lying by the sides of the road seemingly where they fell from the sky, wolf. >> that big piece of wreckage we see right behind you, phil, do you know what it is? what part of the plane it might be? >> unfortunately, my evidence -- my knowledge is not quite technical enough to tell, but there is clearly something fuselage shaped in that main yellow section that i think you can see there behind my laiing next to it pare appears to be a bulk head of some kind. what really strikes you when you stand next to is the sheer size of it. it is incredible. it is an item of tremendous
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weight and scale and size. and at some point a little over 24 hours ago, it fell from the sky, landing here. it really does give a sense of the power of whatever it was that blew mh-17 from the sky. as is becoming increasingly apparent. the other remarkable thing that you notice though is for the sheer damage that that represents, some of the bodies that we're seeing here seem remarkly unhurt or untouched. no obvious sign of injury on the surface. some of their clothing has been removed somehow in whatever happened. but there's not the charred remains is of someone of people who were caught up in a fire and explosion or that sort of thing although we are told by the emergency workers here that they have found bodies that have been in that sort of state, as well. so it shows a mix, if you like,
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of what took place or how these people perhaps lost their lives perhaps in the initial explosion, perhaps a result of the fall, perhaps as a result of a fire that did take place in some parts of the wreckage we are told. and it is all scattered over an incredible area. it very much gives the sense that this aircraft suffered something fairly catastrophic. and as a result, these bodies, these former passengers have been spread out across this vast area, and as i make the key point that there is an operation to try and clean this up, to try and come to terms with what's happening here. but it is not very well organized. it is not particularly large, and it is really not up to the task of the disaster that we see before us here tonight, wolf. >> i col only imagine how wrenching, how emotionally difficult, phil, this must be for you, for other who are seeing what's going on, 2998
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people were board that boeing triple 7 that was hit by eight surface-to-air missile and clearly exploded and came down and you see that -- when is you see, phil, you know, not just the bodies that are still there that have not yet been recovered but the personal effects, the clothing, whatever was in suitcases just lying around, i can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. >> it does bring it home. it is incredibly confronting. there's no doubt about it. all of us have been talking about this disaster for the last 24 hours or so because it is such a significant event, horrific event but it really hits you when you first see it. as we first approached this location, the first thing we noticed was an acrid quality to the air here that says that is something significant took place here. and then we started to come across these large pieces of debris just like this. and it is one thing to talk
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about it. it is another thing to stand in front of it and try to picture precisely what was responsible for doing this. and spreading these huge pieces of a very large triple 7 aircraft across such a wide area and then again, it was only once we stopped and came up closer and looked into the fields and started to see that those passengers, they are still here on the ground. and yeah, wolf, it is confronting. there is no doubt about that. as i say, it really does bring home the scale of what it is that we are all talking about, the human nature of the tragedy, the human cost that has taken place here. and the horrific coincidence that these people have suffered in being caught up, it would seem, in a conflict over a part of the world that they were absolutely disconnected from in every way. wolf? >> phil, excellent description of what's going on. it's a heart-wrenching scene for all of our viewers. i want you to stand by.
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we're going to have more on your eyewitness account at the scene. that's coming up, full analysis coming up. much more of the breaking news. we'll take a quick break. we'll be right back. start with the best writing experience.? make it incredibly thin. add an adjustable kickstand, a keyboard, a usb port, and the freedom of touch. and, of course, make it run microsoft office, with the power and speed to do real work. introducing surface pro 3. the tablet that can replace your laptop.
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[whistling] announcer: preventing wildfires. that's all smokey wants for his 70th birthday. we're live in jerusalem covering breaking news here. we're also following the breaking news in ukraine. phil black is at the scene of the crash. let's also bring in our chief national security correspondent
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jim sciutto and all of our analysts. first i want to go to our own chris cuomo who has now made it to eastern ukraine. tell us where you are right now. what you're seeing. >> reporter: we are in a few hundred kilometers away from where phil black is, the site of the plane coming down. you have to understand, wolf, this is so unusual we have this disaster, this plane being brought down in the midst of an ongoing conflict. so there are curfews. it's very dangerous. you have disparate factions of militants who the are not coordinated. some may let you go, some may not. the country in general is still dealing with which way this conflict is going to go. behind us is a place called liberty square, obviously commemorating the independence of ukraine. but in the middle of it is a statue of lenin, just to give you the two competing interests going on here between ukraine
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and russia. listening to phil and you, wolf, there's something very important to keep in mind. time is of the essence. not just in being able to do a thorough investigation of what happened to this plane but for the dignity of those who is were on board. you know the morbid reports that have been coming on. we don't know who's been controlling the scene and what they've been doing to the debris field. it's so important for journalists like phil and international monitoring organizations to get there hopefully to keep those who would abuse the situation and disgrace it at bay. we're shut off by curfew now. by tomorrow morning, we're hoping to put fresh eyes on the situation. >> have you been driving, chris, from kiev, the capital, all the way toward the eastern part of the country? how the difficult has that been? >> reporter: we will have to go checkpoint to checkpoint by car, wolf. you can't get there by plane.
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those airfields are obviously shut down for security reasons. the fixer that we have here for those watching right now, a fixer is someone local to the situation speaks the language, has connections to help us better do our job, she could not get here. she's not with us yet because a bridge and a road that she needed to use to get to us here in har keav were taken out. she believes they were blown up. it's a very fluid situation. it hasn't been in the news but there is on going conflict. it's difficult for the international monitoring situations and they are not investigators of flight emergencies like this. they're just security analysts. it's been very difficult because there's been open gunfire. it's very difficult to give a fair depiction of what's going on because the ukraine government and military are not in control in this part of the country. so we're going to have to see what happens as we get there, taking our way slowly as we go and hoping for the best.
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>> chris cuomo, i want you to stand by. phil black is at the scene of the wreckage. i want him to stand by, as well. joining us on the phone is saber airs. a freelance journalist who has been at the scene, as well. tell us what you've seen while you were there. >> well, much as the correspondent earlier described, i mean it's a wreckage scene that sort of spans about six miles across wheat fields and sunflower fields and into villages themselves. we spoke with some villagers today who literally had bodies that fell on to their houses and into their gardens and some of these very rural areas. it's an area full of lots of coal miners and farmers and telling horrific tales about seeing parts of the plane come down and most i think disturbing is seeing bodies coming down.
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>> i understand, sabra, you spoke with one person who actually saw the plane heading straight toward that person's house? >> yeah, they described it. they saw i think what must have been part of the fuselage, and she sort of looked out her window and kind of remarked to her husband, look at this strange plane that's heading towards us. and then realized you know, as it was coming closer that it was heading towards their small village. and at some point it sort of veered to the left. and then fell into a field. so it was -- quite alarming for this woman. and you know, that village was unscathed. i mean none of the houses even had any damage but obviously the field next to it was completely burned out. was smoldering even today when we went there to visit the site again.
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it's just a horrific scene really. bodies that are still out in the open and that will clean-up process has been stalled due to several reasons as your correspondent said earlier. you know, it's in an area that has been going heavy fighting between the ukrainian government forces, trying to regain ground taken by the pro-russian separatists in that area. there's been hev shelling in the villages nearby, small is hes in that area. it's a very difficult situation to have such a large scale sort of international catastrophic happen in a war zone. this is sort of right at the heart of where the -- this is the hot spot of this current conflict in ukraine. >> and very quickly, sabra, did you see saenz of looting around the wreckage? >> i personal didn't see this. i've heard reports of this. i tell you what i did see is that it is -- it is by no means
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sort of cordoned off in any way. even i was able to walk through the wreckage. and search through it. i think that is going to be a problem going into the investigation of what happened. you know, we heard stories about people finding mobile phones and taking them and that sort of stuff. i didn't see that. i don't want to make any accusations. i did see some locals sort of taking pieces of the wreckage with them as almost like souvenirs or something. i think that is sort of you know, obviously a large problem as the international community begins to start to analyze what happened here so we can get to the bottom of this tragedy. >> it's a huge problem for the investigators as will determine over the next few minutes. sab
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sabra ayres. phil black, a man on the scene of the wreckage. coming up, growing pressure on russia's president. slapped by president obama and other world leaders over the downing the flight 17. what would vladimir putin nextle? and we'll go to gaza. israel is moving its troops further into the territory. is the assault about to further expand? we've got breaking news live in jerusalem. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." i'm only in my 60's.
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what's going on. looks like flares. ben wedeman is in gaza. what is going on, ben, in gaza right now? >> well, wolf we've seen behind me, wolf, that's a neighborhood just to the east of gaza city. these flares have been going up for quite some time. we've also seen what looks like incoming artillery or tank rounds. that's one of the areas where residents were advised by the israeli military to leave although we've been there and seen, there's still people in that area. so that's adjacent right next to the israeli border. so there's a high probability of some sort of ground action by israeli forces in that area. now, we understand that within the last 24 hours since the israeli ground offensive began, the death toll is over 50. and the total death toll for this operation is just shy of 300. now, this evening, there was
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also bombardment to the northeast of here near the northern boarder with israel. in one case, according to the palestinian ministry of health, a family of eight including four small children, were killed when their house was hit. normally wolf, what we see is a relative calm in the day and i stress the relative there sbug but it's really at night when the can action picks up and i think that's what's going on behind us. wolf? >> yeah, this looks like there is considerable action behind you right now. we'll keep those live pictures up. ben wedeman, be careful over there. let's bring in mark regev, the spokesman for benjamin netanyahu. you see the live pictures. looks like it's well after midnight here in the middle east. what is going on? >> we're copying our operation against tunnels, against terrorist targeted, against those can the ros they're shooting into israel. today we had over 75 rockets fired at israel.
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these rockets continue to be fired at our city especially in the south. there was even a rocket fired in the tel aviv area when president obama was speaking to benjamin netanyahu. >> he mentioned the sirens were going off even in the middle of that conversation. they have what, 10,000 rockets and missiles. is this mission designed to deal with all of those rockets and missiles? >> this mission is designed to end the rocket fire from gaza into israel. we will take out much of their supply, much of their arsenal during this military operation and at the end of this operation, hamas will understand that they simply cannot continue to shoot rockets at israel. >> how long is this operation going to last? >> as long as it needs. as long as we need to get our goal, and our goal is ultimately peace and quiet. we want the civilian population of israel to be able to live without the fear of an incoming rocket from gaza. >> when the prime minister says it's about to expand, how big of expansion will that be? because there are already
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thousands of israeli troops in gaza right now, we understand. >> we do what needs to be done to protect our people. now, we've of course, mobilized many troops. they're not all in action. we have different options. we'll see what will contingencies develop. we'll do what needs to be done to stop those missiles coming into our cities. >> what are you hearing about casualties in ga da? >> at the moment our casualty rate has thankly been very low. we are doing our best to keep palestinian casualties also low. our problem is hamas has exactly the opposite agenda. when we tell gaza civilians to evacuate an area, we don't want to see them caught up with the crossfire, hamas tells citizens stay in the combat zone, be a human shield for our terrorist machine. they're trying deliberately to endanger gazans, civilians using them as human shields. it's a war crime. they shouldn't be allowed to do
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it. >> is anything going on to achieve a cease-fire right now? >> at the moment, unfortunately hamas closed the door to diplomacy. there was the proposal supported bid president obama and secretary kerry. supported by the united nations. supported by the arab league and hamas said no. they said no monday, they said no tuesday. they said no wednesday again. so when they close the door to a diplomatic break through, we were forced to bring in the military and to act to protect our people. >> mark regular gov, the spokesman for benjamin netanyahu. thanks very much, mark, for joining us once again tonight. next hour, we'll get the palestinian perspective. the chief palestinian negotiator will be joining us live. we're here in jerusalem. just ahead, we're also getting brand new information on the crash. we have a cnn crew at the crash scene. we'll go back. we're investigating what happened top that malaysia airliner.
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close a deal. hire an intern. and still have time to spare. check your speed. see how fast your internet can be. switch now and add voice and tv for $34.90. comcast business. built for business. we're live here in jerusalem covering breaking news here and covering breaking news in ukraine. let's bring in our panel, miles o'brien, our aviation analyst peter goelz, the former managing director of the national transportation safety board, cnn's richard quest and law enforcement analyst tom fuentas. i want to begin with jim sciutto. you're getting new information about the crash. what are you learning? >>. >> it's about the crash scene. there's been great concern about interference with the crash site, pro-russian rebels who have been running rampant over it in the last 24 hours.
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we're learning this coming from the donetsk state administration, an the actual government of eastern ukraine, not the self-proclaimed government from a face buk posting saying rebels have removed 36 bodies from the site of the plane crash, that they drove away rescuers robbed them of their means of communication, too took these bodies away, loaded them on to trucks. as always happens in this story, there are two views to any event and the pro-russian channel one story of the same event says that these pro-russian rebels were in fact trying to preserve the site taking the bodies away to some place where they could be stored more safely but it does get to the concern that i know that peter goelz, former ntsb investigator and others have raised when you have people running around this site with other agendas, they can contaminate the site in a way that makes it very difficult to have a proper investigation. >> well, let me bring peter in. you've done a lot of these kinds of plane disaster
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investigations. it looks like a horrible situation there. >> yeah. >> clearly. >> we've lost. >> complicates the whole investigation. >> we had wolf blitzer. we lost his signal for a second. we're going to see if we can get his signal back. there's wolf. do you hear us okay? >> i hear you fine. i just wanted to bring peter into this conversation. talk about how complicated this whole situation, the investigation has been because of the way the disaster scene has unfolded. >> well, we have no dale what the local rebels, what the local people have been doing to the scene. i mean, reggie from a investigative standpoint,ing i mean, you want to lay that scene out. you want to set up grids. you want to identify where each and every body landed. you want to mark it. then you want to remove the human remains, the victims as
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soon as humantonally possible. what's going on there is an outrage, it is an insult. it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. will it compromise the investigation in the long haulle? probably not. a missile leaves zing marks on the skin of a fuselage. when the fragmentation penetrates the fuselage, it leaves microscopic remnants in the holes. they can't take all of those. it will be -- this tragedy will be solved. >> richard quest, you spoke with the ukrainian cabinet minister about those so-called black boxes and you got new information. tell us what you learned. >> yes, the minister it, i asked him straight out about rumors that the black boxes had been located by separatists and sent to russia. he said that wasn't the case. the ukrainian foreign minister had told him that the black boxes and he was very careful with his words, the black boxes
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are still on ukrainian soil. now, when pushed, he then went on to say, they were not in the hands or he wasn't sure whether they were in the hands of the officials. so i pushed him a bit harder. you know, are you saying that you've got them? and you know where they are? wouldn't go that far. but it does seem tonight as though the whereabouts of the black boxes are a little bit clearer than they were earlier in the day. and one other thing the minister said is ukraine is open to the idea of international participation in the investigation because they recognize for credibilitiability transparency and integrity, there does need to be international participation in the final inquiry. >> and tell our viewers tom fapt tas, how important the contents of those black boxes are. >> wolf, they're very important. to follow up.
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if they cannot control the ground at that crash site. they can sit here and say they want international investigators and transparencies, but somebody needs to put the yellow tape about the 10-mile crash site, keep people out of it that have no business being in it and preserve the evidence and take care of the bodies that are decomposing in an open field. i think it's an outrage that none of that has been done, much less the pontiff fie occasion of the various governments who aren't controlling the ground there. >> it's total outrage. i can't remember a time when i've seen anything like that by a government. i want everybody to stand by. right at the top of the hour we're going back to the scene. we're going to get a live report. our cnn crew is at the scene of the crash. much more of our special coverage after this.
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we're following the breaking news involving malaysia flight 17. cnn's tom foreman is in the virtual studio with a closer look at the attack. what are you finding out? >> even as the investigators try to get control of the ground, they're following high-tech track to figure out where the rocket was launched and who did
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it. to begin with, you know planes like this send off radar signals. those signals can be follow by satellites. well the same thing is true of this buk missile launching system we've talked about. when it is looking for a target, it sends off a big radar signal. and when it launches a missile into the air, that sends off a heat signature first, which can be read by a rocket overhead and the rocket itself sends off a radar signal when it gets part way along the way. all which can be followed by satellites and other monitoring systems. clear away all of those signals and what do you wind up with? you wind up with a clear line that goes from the launch up to where the missile was up to where the plane exploded in the sky. that's one way the authorities have been able to trace this back and say they're so confident about where it came from. now to determine who shot it, that's a different equation. they've managed the take a very big map that had a very big circle on it 24 hours or more
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and they've pushed the circle down much smaller to a target they think contains the launch so sight. but now they have to look at the phone calls, things like this video released by the ukrainian minister of the interior showing what they say is one of these buk launchers in the area missing or apparently missing a missile there. you put all of that together, wolf, with the high-tech tracks and that's what's allowing them to close the circle down even if they have to struggle with the very issue you were talking about moments ago, control of the ground. without that they'll never know where this missile came from. but in the meantime they keep looking. wolf. >> all right, tom. thank you. tom foreman reporting. more on the breaking news coming up next. stand by, another full hour of our special report.
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a "the situation room" special report. the downing of -- happening now, a "the situation room" special report. the downing of mh17. breaking news tonight. finger pointing at russia. ukraine is accusing moscow of a coverup at the crash site. international investigators have arrived. what are they finding at the scene? we're looking into new video and audio recordings that appear to back up claims that pro-russian rebels